40Under40’s Future: Investments made in Michigan’s Creative Coast are now bearing fruit

The annual 40Under40 edition of the Traverse City Business News is one of my favorite publications. I love to learn about the impressive young people who are making things happen in the Grand Traverse region – what they are doing, how they got here, and what they plan to do next. The winner profiles are inspiring and always point toward an encouraging future for the individuals and our whole community.

This year is no different. As you read through this edition, you will see incredible accomplishments and big plans from the under-40 set. Young people with impressive careers in the creative sector, success across a wide range of entrepreneurial endeavors, and knowledge economy talent bodes well for our growth and development prospects.

We know that the economic success of our region in this decade will be determined by our ability to attract and retain the next generation of talent. From tech workers and skilled trades people to service economy and medical professionals, talent is our most precious resource. Our region’s commitment to growing, developing, educating, and enabling millennials and post-millennial “zoomers” can set us apart from other parts of the state and the country in the fierce competition for talent attraction and retention.

On Oct. 1, 2020, we launched Michigan’s Creative Coast as a guide to moving to the region and getting new arrivals connected to opportunities. The goal of this program is to highlight the incredible people and entrepreneurs of the Traverse City area in order to attract more of the next generation in creative, technology, and trade industries as well as remote workers.

These efforts are beginning to bear fruit as we welcome new people to the area that will likely show up in future editions of the 40Under40. One great example is Sarahbeth Ramsey. Sarahbeth is the principal and founder of The Boho Marketing Company and host of “The More You Grow” podcast. Later this month, she is also about to become one of Traverse City’s newest residents.

Sarahbeth grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and as the daughter of an entrepreneur, she always knew she wanted to start a business. She traveled the world, worked in D.C., and tried several different ideas until her marketing business really took off. Ms. Ramsey’s success was based on a simple concept: an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs solve problems.

As Sarahbeth developed her business model managing social media marketing for small businesses, she uncovered an additional need from her clients: helping startup companies prepare for pitch competitions. Through this work, Sarahbeth was exposed to the startup scene in several larger cities, including Baltimore, San Diego, and Pittsburg.

Then, she heard about the great things happening in the Traverse City region. She researched the area, connected with resources of Michigan’s Creative Coast, and ultimately came for a visit. While in town, Sarahbeth attended a TCNewTech pitch competition at the City Opera House. She was excited by the interactive nature of the event and the depth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“It is one of the coolest pitch competitions I’ve ever seen!” she said. “This is awesome. I am hooked.”

Our area’s entrepreneurial landscape first attracted Sarahbeth here, but it is only one of our appealing attributes. Her initial excitement at TCNewTech was matched by the four seasons of recreational opportunities and quality of life we have to offer. It was this combination of factors that convinced her to move from Baltimore to Traverse City (I recommend listening to her podcast episode “Moving to Michigan!”).

Sarahbeth’s story is one that we can and will repeat going forward. The momentum around our startup scene and talent development efforts serves as a magnet for attracting new people and new businesses. More importantly, this strengthened intellectual infrastructure is helping us keep our existing entrepreneurs and home-grown talented people here and thriving.

Our region has made great strides in building out an attractive business environment that is on par with our natural beauty and cultural amenities. We can continue to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem across the private, public and nonprofit sectors that supports innovative and creative people. I am excited to see what Sarahbeth will accomplish here and I look forward to many more exciting editions of the 40Under40 list.

Warren Call is the president/CEO of Traverse Connect, a regional economic development organization that includes the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and Venture North. Contact him at warren.call@traverseconnect.org.